Guidance for formatting choices

Call outs

Put any heading in bold, and relevant images within the block quote. Use a full stop at the end of sentences.

Make sure any images referenced by the text in the call out are included in the formatted area.

Lists

Use numbered lists for sequences, bulleted lists in most other contexts, and description lists for pairs of related pieces of data

  • The Publishing status is set to 09: Unknown

Numbers

Spell out whole numbers from zero to nine.

Numbers in titles

Use numerals for cardinal and ordinal numbers in headlines, email subject lines, and HTML page titles.

  • Subject: Presentation file 1 of 2 attached (Email subject line)

  • 5th grader wins 1st place in spelling bee (Headline)

Cardinal numbers

Spell out cardinal numbers (one, two, and so on) and ordinal numbers (first, second, and so on) below 10, but use numerals for numbers 10 and above.

Percentages

When expressing percentages, always use numerals and the percentage sign. Do not spell out percentages.

Numerals as co-ordinates

Use numerals when referring to numbers that a person must type, such as for co-ordinates in tables and worksheets, and for parts of a document, such as page numbers or line references.

  • Type 5 and click Save.
  • Select row 3, column 5 of the worksheet.
  • Refer to line 9 of the transcript.

Numerals in categories

If a passage contains two or more numbers that refer to the same category of information and one is 10 or higher, use numerals for all numbers referring to that category. When numbers are treated consistently, readers can recognise the relationship between them more easily.

  • The delegation included 3 women and 11 men.
  • He was the 9th person chosen for the 10-person team.
  • The most popular vote-getters included three women and nine men.
  • Only 3 women and 11 men attended the four-day event.

Large numbers

Express large and very large numbers in numerals followed by million, billion, and so forth. If expressing a number greater than 999 in numerals, use a comma.

  • 5 billion people
  • 1,200 years ago
  • Millions and billions

When stating million or billion with a numeral, don’t hyphenate, even before a noun. But do use a hyphen between the numeral and million or billion if the expression is part of a compound adjective that takes a hyphen elsewhere.

  • A $6 million lawsuit
  • The 400-million-served mark

If space is tight (for example, in headlines, tables, diagrams, or text messages), some abbreviations are acceptable.

K (thousand)

Among other things, K can stand for thousand, kilobytes, kilobits, and kilograms. Use K only if its meaning is clear from the context.

At the beginning of a sentence

Avoid starting a sentence with a numeral. If you can’t avoid it, spell out the number.

  • 450 gamers participated in last night’s chat. (Not this.)
  • Four hundred and fifty gamers participated in last night’s chat.
  • Last night, 450 gamers participated in the chat.

A year may be written in numerals at the beginning of a sentence. It’s okay to start a headline with a numeral if space is tight or if the numeral makes the headline more eye-catching or easier to scan or understand.

  • 1967 was the Summer of Love in San Francisco.
  • 8 Diet Tips

Ordinals and suffixes

Avoid expressing ordinals with superscript letters (such as 10th, 11th, and so on). Ordinals with superscript formatted in a word processor may not display correctly in some places, such as email, and the use in writing of these suffixes is becoming increasingly archaic. Do not use “th” endings or their equivalent when stating dates (i.e., do not write Join us on June 10th).

Tables

Use tables for sets of related pieces of data.

A helpful HTML tables to markdown tables tool: https://jmalarcon.github.io/markdowntables/